Earth Day Is Every Day at MSU
At MSU, green is always in season. An early innovator in sustainability and resource conservation, MSU is meeting aggressive goals in critical areas of energy, waste reduction, transportation, water, and community engagement. See how Spartans are going greener than ever. More…
MSU researchers are also helping the world take better care of the earth – here are some examples of recent research projects:
With more than 100 faculty in 57 countries around the world, MSU water researchers study topics from agriculture to zoology. Between 2000 and 2014, MSU water researchers generated $186 million in external grants — money invested in projects such as antibiotics in water and microbial resistance, as well as fish community and population dynamics. More…
When exposed to nitrogen fertilizer over a period of years, nitrogen-fixing bacteria called rhizobia evolve to become less beneficial to legumes – the plants they normally serve. Farmers, who generally grow only one type of plant can always add more fertilizer to boost plant growth. But in natural areas adjacent to farmland, where fertilizer runoff occurs, or in areas where nitrogen oxides from the burning of fossil fuels settle, a change in the quality of soil rhizobia could have far-reaching ecological and environmental consequences.
Researchers at Michigan State University and in China add more fuel to the already hot debate about whether electric vehicles are more environmentally friendly than conventional vehicles by uncovering two hidden benefits. They show that the cool factor is real – in that electric vehicles emit significantly less heat. That difference could mitigate the urban heat island effect, the phenomenon that helps turn big cities like Beijing into pressure cookers in warm months.
Recycling plastic works; additives to biodegrade plastic do not. A new study from Michigan State University shows that several additives that claim to break down polyethylene (i.e., plastic bags) and polyethylene terephthalate (i.e., soda bottles) simply don’t work in common disposal situations such as landfills or composting.
In 2004, Michigan State University joined forces with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) to establish the MSU Quantitative Fisheries Center (QFC) to provide research and training support to fisheries management agencies around the Great Lakes basin.
“It’s exciting to see the flexibility pandas have, or at least see that they are choosing areas I didn’t think could support them,” Vanessa Hull, a postdoctoral research associate at MSU’s Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability says. “It gives you hope. They’ve survived throughout many challenges over so many millions of years; it would be sad to think humans came along and threw it all away. This also suggests we should stay on board and try to make things better for them.”
By using common materials found pretty much anywhere there is dirt, a team of Michigan State University researchers have developed a new thermoelectric material that transforms heat into electricity.